Our final case, which Jacques Vallee described as, "the best-authenticated close encounter incident in continental Europe", includes not only hard traces, botanical data and physiological data, but detailed descriptions of beings associated with the UFO. It came to be known as ‘The Valensole Case’. Not only is it one of the most thoroughly investigated close encounters on record, but examination by French government agencies began on the day of the event.
During early morning of 1 July 1965, Maurice Masse, a French lavender farmer, was working in his field in the village of Valensole, near the lower Alps, when he suddenly noticed an object that had landed in his lavender field. At first glance from a distance, he thought that it was a helicopter or some sort of experimental prototype, but as he approached closer to the object, he saw that it was oval shaped and rested on six curved legs and some type of central pivot. Through an opening in the craft he thought that he could see two back-to-back seats. Suddenly he saw two beings, less than four feet [1.2 metres] tall, wearing grey-blue-green suits but without any type of breathing devices. One of them pointed a small tube at the farmer, which immediately paralyzed him. Although lying on the ground, he remained fully conscious, noting that as they looked at him, with what he later described as ‘concerned expressions’, they made strange gurgling sounds from deep within their throats as they communicated with one another. Masse saw that the two beings had large hairless heads, smooth white skin, large eyes that slanted away, pointed chins and small mouths without lips. After their brief dialogue, they entered the craft through a sliding panel and the object took off, leaving a deep crater and an area of moisture that later became as hard as concrete.
After about twenty minutes Masse was able to move his arms and legs, but four days after the incident he collapsed and his sleep pattern was dramatically altered for several months. Rather than his usual five or six hour sleep break, he was sleeping for periods of twelve hours or more and his wife and father noted distinct behavioural changes. Masse was a former Resistance fighter, an astute farmer and regarded as ‘absolutely trustworthy’ by police investigators. Lieutenant-Colonel Valnet, Maitre Chautard, leading the gendarmerie and the Mayor of Valensole, in fact everyone who investigated the case, concluded that Maurice Masse was telling the truth.
Investigators found that the ground where the craft had landed was soaked with moisture, although no rain had fallen. Geometrically spaced indentations covered the area and the plants were affected by the proximity of the phenomenon, appearing to decay in direct proportion to their distance from the central column of the craft. The calcium content of the soil at the landing site was found to be much higher than in samples taken from other areas in the field.
Famous UFO writer and researcher Dr Jacques Vallee, returning to the scene of the incident in 1979 and meeting with Maurice Masse and two of his close friends, makes a number of interesting observations. He notes that Masse was reluctant to give all the details of his experience to investigators as well as to his own family at the time, including the fact that he believed that some type of silent communication took place between himself and the beings. From the beginning he wanted to minimise the impact of the experience, not wanting publicity, amongst other reasons. Like many experiencers of this phenomenon, he had changed in many ways as a result of the experience, including the belief that some form of contact, once established, continued in subtle forms. Vallee concludes, "Throughout these discussions with Mr Masse I had the feeling that I was in the presence of a very intelligent man, capable of deep emotions and rational thought. He is also quite humble; he has declined to appear on a television documentary with a nationally known journalist.... I had brought with me a photograph of similar traces left after another case. Mr Masse looked at me with a mixture of amazement and relief that someone else was aware of these particular marks. He told us that he sometimes found them in his field; that’s how he knows that ‘they’ have come back. He always erases the traces immediately."